Back in university this week since the first week of December… you might be wondering why? I’ve been on teaching practice for 8 weeks! I’m Hannah, a Primary Education student here at LHU, and I’m in my second year. In first year, we had a 6-week long placement, and this year was the same teaching wise, however we had an induction week and a Professional Focus week. I was in a lovely Year 6 class at a school in Childwall, which is only a twenty-minute drive away from I live.
The first week was induction week, which is where you spend a week familiarising yourself with the school and the class that you’ll be working with, and you don’t have to do any teaching but act as a teaching assistant instead. I wanted to start teaching as soon as possible so during my induction week I did some team teaching with my class teacher and did an activity by myself on getting to know the children. We also had a Christmas Nativity performance in the last week before Christmas which was so fun and it was nice to get to know the children in a different way.
The first half of placement flew, and before I knew it I was teaching for full days by myself! I had taken over the science planning for the whole half term and was teaching maths every day alongside reading. Being in year 6 the focus was mainly on SATs, but I made sure that I had the chance to do some fun things with my class too. We had an outside problem-solving maths lesson and a science lesson where we used skittles and jelly snakes to learn, which went down a treat (especially when we got to eat them afterwards!) One of the days my class teacher was off sick, and although I was scared to be teaching all day it was amazing! I had the class to myself and it was the first moment where I felt like a ‘proper teacher’. Once the three-week mark passes you do a lot more teaching; I was teaching 70% of the curriculum by the end of it, and then you start thinking about leaving! The moments with your class become a lot more special. There is also a chance to be flexible in what you are teaching, as I got to teach PE even though they have a specialist PE teacher, PSHE as it is something I’m interested in and Philosophy for Children as part of my Level 1 accredited training.
We had a Professional Focus Week on the end of our placement. We finished our official teaching practice but stayed in the same school the week after. In this week we got to choose between Behaviour Management, Phonics and Early Reading or EAL (English as an Additional Language) to focus on. Being an Early Years specialist who had taught year 6 for 6 weeks, I wanted to go back into EYFS/KS1 for a week so chose Phonics as my focus. In the morning I would be in either Reception or Year 1, observing and teaching reading and phonics. In the afternoon I went back into my year 6 class and did some teaching for my final week. Friday came and I had to say goodbye to my class, we did a quiz similar to the one I did with them at Christmas and then I gave them the sweets I bought them and some bookmarks I had made for them. All of the children thanked me for the lessons I had taught and some had even made me cards! It was such a special last day and I am thankful for being put in such an amazing school.
We had February half term off as a reading week to prepare for our assignment, which was a 15-minute presentation on placement. I had my presentation yesterday and I think it went quite well, so fingers crossed for my results! I love being on placement because you get to put all the things that you learn at university into practice, meet some lovely children and teachers and have fantastic experiences that will stay with you for ever. It is hard work but is so rewarding!